United opened its Polaris Lounge in Chicago O’Hare last December and it has received rave reviews. I’m going to deliberately route through Chicago on an upcoming trip just to try it out. But ORD is just one hub. When will United open up additional Polaris Lounges?
Remember, Polaris Lounges differ from United Clubs in that full meal service (both buffet and a la carte) are available, top shelf drinks are free, showers and sleeping rooms are present, and the lounge is exclusive: only Star Alliance business or first class passengers are invited.
Here’s a timeline for the remaining Polaris lounges–
- Newark – phase one in 2017 / phase two in 2018
- San Francisco – phase one in 2017 / phase two in 2018
- Los Angeles
- Hong Kong
- Tokyo Narita
- Washington Dulles
United Polaris Lounge Notes
The San Francisco lounge is going to be huge:
The San Francisco Polaris lounge will be built in the footprint of the current United Club, just past the airport’s security screening zone, as well as the neighbouring Singapore Airlines and EVA Air lounges to create a massive split-level space which promises to be one of the largest Polaris lounges in United’s network.
The London Polaris Lounge will replace the current Global First lounge (turn right as you enter). This is the most beautiful lounge in the network and a fitting home for the Polaris Lounge. This lounge already offers a la carte dining and likely needs little transformation.
In Los Angeles, the Polaris Lounge will be upstairs above the circular rotunda past gates 72 and 73. LAX has a great new United Club already.
A United rep told me at the United Club LAX launch that Polaris lounges will be built in Shanghai, Beijing, and one additional city in China. Certainly, building new lounges in China is much more difficult than the lounge remodels above, so I understand UA’s reluctance to make this news official. But United has a great opportunity to offer a competitive lounge product in China. The Star Alliance lounges in Beijing and particularly Shanghai leave much to be desired. United now serves several secondary cities in China like Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Xian. Will Chengdu be the unnamed third lounge?
The new network of United Polaris lounges promises to be a great upgrade to United’s clubs and Global First lounges. Hopefully United can stick to schedule and make each Polaris lounge as impressive as Chicago is.